The niece of Daniel Mangini and Steven Roberts was removed from her home by the Department of Human Services.
Court/Assoc.: Federal Court
Attorneys/Firms: Peter Goldberger; Mary Catherine Roper (ACLU of PA); Leslie Cooper & James Esseks (National ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and AIDS Project)
Daniel Mangini and Steven Roberts have been in a committed relationship for more than 20 years. They built a home together and took in Robert's niece and raised her to adulthood after the niece was removed from her home by the Department of Human Services.
Unfortunately, the couple became addicted to methamphetamine and ultimately resorted to selling the drug to support their addiction. In December 2003, they were arrested. They later pled guilty to possession with the intent to sell. Each received a sentence of imprisonment to be followed by five
years of supervised release.
While it is customary for the U. S. Probation Office to bar people on supervision from associating with other felons while on supervised release, it ordinarily makes exceptions for close family members. After their release, Mangini and Roberts were informed that same-sex relationships were not treated as family and that they would have to stay away from each other.
With the help of the ACLU, the couple appealed the decision. In his July 31, 2007, decision, Judge Marvin Katz acknowledged the long-term commitment that the couple has made to each other and ruled that the couple can no longer be barred from having contact with each other. Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, Judge Katz ruled that same-sex couples have the same right to form intimate relationships as opposite sex couples and that it is unconstitutional to treat same-sex couples differently.